Members of the EIS voted overwhelmingly to accept the recent final pay offer proposed by local authority employers and the Scottish Government.
In an online ballot, 90% of those voting opted to accept the pay offer. Turnout in the ballot was 82%.
Speaking after the ballot result was announced at a meeting of the EIS national Council in Edinburgh, EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley said, “EIS members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the current pay offer, with 90% of those voting opting to accept in an online ballot.“
Turnout in the ballot was also high, confirming that Scotland’s teachers believe that it is now time to accept the offer and bring an end to the programme of industrial action in our schools.”
Ms Bradley added, “The acceptance of this offer will mean that, for most teachers, their pay will increase by 12.3% by April this year in comparison to current pay levels. This includes a backdated 7% increase from April 2022, and a 5% increase from this April.
“Teachers will also receive a further 2% increase in pay from January next year, with the next pay settlement then scheduled to be negotiated and payable from August 2024 onwards. The total current package will amount to a 14.6% increase in pay for most teachers by January 2024.”
Ms Bradley continued, “EIS members have taken a pragmatic decision in voting to accept the current pay offer. While it does not meet our aspirations in respect of a restorative pay settlement for Scotland’s teachers, it is the best deal that can realistically be achieved in the current political and financial climate without further prolonged industrial action.
“It compares favourably with recent pay settlements across the public sector, and does provide pay certainty for Scotland’s teachers for the next 16 months until the next pay settlement is scheduled to be delivered in August 2024.”
Ms Bradley concluded, “It is deeply regrettable that it took a sustained industrial dispute, and the first programme of national strike action on pay by teachers in 40 years, for the Scottish Government and COSLA to finally come up with an acceptable pay offer for Scotland’s hard-working teaching professionals.
“Scotland’s pupils, parents and teachers deserve better, and the Scottish Government and Scotland’s local authorities must commit to ensuring that education is properly funded, and that teachers are fairly paid, in all future years in order that Scottish education can provide as it should for our young people and for the good of our whole society.”
Following the EIS ballot result, and the result of consultations by other teacher trade unions, the SNCT Teachers’ Panel formally accepted the offer on 14 March. There is an understanding amongst all sides of the SNCT that the pay agreement must be implemented, and all back pay due to teachers should be paid, as soon as possible.
A win for trade union action and trade union democracy
That so many eligible EIS members participated in this ballot is testament to the strength of EIS members’ trust and engagement in our democratic processes, particularly in light of the Scottish Government and COSLA both individually and collectively, having sought to influence our trade union democracy in their interests and to suit their respective and shared agendas.
EIS members – an overwhelming majority – have spoken and have spoken with clear voice in favour of acceptance of the March 3rd pay offer, as recommended by the Salaries Committee – whose members, as we consistently had to remind the Scottish Government and COSLA, are teachers democratically elected to represent the views of 80% of teachers in Scotland.
The EIS is home to members with a broad range of views, including on pay matters. This is welcome and is reflected somewhat in the ballot result.
The outcome of this ballot is also indicative of how well attuned members of the Salaries Committee (all teachers) are to the views of the members that they represent. The Scottish Government and COSLA had sought to portray a different narrative within the negotiations – one that suggested that negotiators and the wider Salaries Committee, were out of touch with the teachers whose interests they sought to protect and advance.
The ballot result busts that myth entirely and affirms that EIS democracy is healthy, intact and functioning as it should.
This in itself is a win.